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Health News of Friday, 12 June 2009

Source: GNA

Malaria in pregnancy causes 200,000 still births in Africa

Mampong, (Ash), June 12, GNA - Dr Emmanuel Ahiable, Senior Medical Superintendent at the Mampong District Hospital, has stated that in Africa, 200,000 still births occurred as a result of malaria in pregnancy.

In an interview with the Ghana News Agency at Mampong, he said Sub-Saharan Africa was the region mostly hit with malaria. Dr Ahiable said malaria was hyper endemic in Ghana and among pregnant women adding; "It occurs for 28.1 percent of Out Patient Department (OPD) attendance, 13.7 percent of hospital admissions and 9.0 percent of maternal deaths.'' He said that the effect of malaria on the mother and the baby were devastating and that it could lead to other conditions such as anaemia, cerebral malaria, pulmonary oedema and congenital malaria. Dr Ahiable noted that pregnant women were four times likely to get ill from the disease, and its causative anaemia could also lead to more deaths in pregnant women and children below age five. This, he said, was an enormous public health problem with substantial risk to mother and the foetus as well as neonates (new born baby).

Dr Ahiable added that the use of Insecticide Treated Nets (ITN) had proved to be effective in reducing malaria and its related illnesses, stressing that its use should be promoted and made available to all pregnant women. He also called for the continuous application of Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) to repel the anopheles mosquito that transmitted malaria. Dr Ahiable said research had shown that when IRS is applied to a whole community, the incidence of malaria reduced drastically and pregnant women in each community were therefore protected. Other protective measures, he added, include the use of mosquito repellents that had been approved to be safe as well as proper management of the environment. He advised pregnant women and the public to close their doors and windows between the hours of 0500 and 0700 and 1700 and 1900 saying, this could prevent the mosquitoes from entering and hiding in dark places to bite and cause malaria. 12 June 09